Anti-smoking group wants ban on duty-free cigarettes

Anti-smoking group ASH is calling for the Government to ban the sale of duty-free cigarettes, TVOne reports.

ASH director Ben Youda told the broadcaster that duty-free tobacco often ends up on the blackmarket.

Mr Youda told One News that tour group leaders were getting members of their party to buy a carton of cigarettes each to beat the one-carton-per-person limit.

"Then the tour leader will pay them, take all the packets and then go and sell them at a reduced price," Mr Youda told One News.

Banning duty-free cigarettes is part of a World Health Organisation tobacco treaty which New Zealand signed up to seven years ago.

Other clauses of the agreement included raising tobacco prices, banning smoking indoors and placing health warnings on cigarettes - all of which have been implemented.

While a spokesperson for the Health Ministry said the department is looking into the issue, the Prime Minister told One News he had already ruled out a ban.

"People are able to buy duty-free goods anywhere - on the plane, on the exit point of wherever they're leaving. Why would New Zealand sign up to that if airlines are going to continue to sell cigarettes on board?"

- NZ Herald staff

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